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Home / Industry / Infotech /  International Women’s Day: Gender equality in tech remains a distant goal

International Women’s Day: Gender equality in tech remains a distant goal

The proportion of women in tech roles has nudged up slightly in recent years as more and more companies are conscious about hiring women, promoting, and building a diverse workforce. Photo: BloombergPremium
The proportion of women in tech roles has nudged up slightly in recent years as more and more companies are conscious about hiring women, promoting, and building a diverse workforce. Photo: Bloomberg

  • While there has been a steady increase in the number of women in the workforce over the years, representation of women in tech jobs is only 15% as of mid-February

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India’s technology sector has seen a steady growth in the number of women in its workforce over the years, but experts say that gender equality is still a distant goal. According to stakeholders, hiring experts, and others, while certain segments in the industry have hired women in important roles, there are still many gaps to fill.

While there has been a steady increase in the number of women in the workforce over the years, Sekhar Garisa, chief executive of job portal Monster.com, said that representation of women in tech jobs is only 15% as of mid-February this year, and accounts for 13 lakh jobs in the sector.

According to Siva Prasad Nanduri, vice president and business head, IT Staffing at hiring consultancy TeamLease Digital, the proportion of women in tech roles has nudged up slightly in recent years as more and more companies are conscious about hiring women, promoting, and building a diverse workforce. “There has been a steady increase of about 2.5% of women in the workforce in the past few years. However, tech companies need to work determinedly to bring sturdy growth in the coming years," he said.

In its strategic review of the industry last month, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), noted that women’s representation in the tech industry in India lies at 36%. The report also said that there are over 1.8 million women in the workforce and 2 lakh were hired during this financial year.

“The industry must put a concentrated effort to improve the ratio by creating equal opportunities, providing equitable access to training, and by leading projects and skill development for women. Adopting gender diversity can help companies experience creativity, innovation, efficiency and more," Nanduri said.

According to a report by Sheatwork, a hub for women entrepreneurs and market research firm TechArc, female students in engineering institutes have grown, but the same isn’t translating to women-led startups of jobs. The report said that female students in IITs went up from 5% four years ago to 16% now.

That said, specific sectors within the tech industry are doing better than others. Deepa Ganapathy, vice president of Quess IT Staffing, an IT staffing solutions company, pointed out that participation of women is higher in roles like business analytics, robotic process automation, enterprise resource management (ERP) and user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) development. In these sectors, the representation of women lies at 41%, 40%, 40% and 38%, respectively.

“This can be attributed to the fact that several organisations are actively focusing and prioritizing their diversity equity and inclusion programs to sustain women in the tech workforce now," said Ganapathy. “Some firms have also commenced career relaunch programs that enable women to have a ‘second innings’ in their professional careers, particularly in the IT sector," she added, noting that there’s still a “long way to go" to achieve gender equality.

“It is rather unfortunate that certain industries like manufacturing and technology have traditionally been considered ‘suitable’ for a particular gender," said Sindhu Gangadharan, senior vice president and managing director of SAP Labs India, the research and development arm of German software firm SAP in India.

Gangadharan, though, noted that a marked shift in the trend has been noted with more organizations making efforts to create a diverse talent pool. “Today, women constitute 34% — almost 1.6 million — of the total Indian tech workforce. Women participation in the tech workforce is 1.5x of overall India Inc."

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